As We Are: Teen Parents

OPB | Aug. 21, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:43 p.m.

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What is daily life like for teens as they become parents?

What is it like to be a child with a child of your own? In Oregon, between 2004 and 2006, 5,263 teenage girls became moms. One in ten of the babies born were fathered by a teenager as well. This is how we are used to hearing about teen parents — as unsettling statistics. In the third installment of our As We Are series, we’ll explore some of the stories behind those numbers by inviting three teen parents into our studio to share their experiences.

What is daily life like for these teens as they become parents (long before the world considers them grown-ups)? The data tells us that many of them drop out of school, but how and why do they make this decision? If they stay in school, how do they juggle the responsibilities of academics and parenting or books and breastfeeding? Who can they turn to if their own parents can’t — or won’t — help them out? How do babies intersect with the already complicated world of adolescence?

Many of the teens I’ve spoken with say that they feel like they are openly judged by older people who assume they are on welfare or on drugs or just plain irresponsible. Are you — or have you ever been — a teen parent? Does this ring true for you? What challenges did you face? What do you wish you’d known then? Are you the grandparent of a baby born to a teen? What is that experience like for you?

UPDATE: The mother of one of our guests, Jayme, has a blog about her “baby having a baby.” You can read it here. Don’t miss the great photos!

GUESTS:

  • Jayme Lee: 18-year-old mother of a two-year-old boy
  • Dana Shot At: 19-year-old mother of a two-year-old girl

Photo credit: theGteam / Flickr / Creative Commons

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